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October 18th, 2009
09:37 PM ET

It's a Hoax!

A Colorado sheriff confirmed today what many had already suspected - that Thursday's balloon saga was all a hoax.

Now, the parents accused of concocting the story that their son was inside a balloon that got away could face serious criminal charges.

Fredricka Whitfield asked our legal guys, Richard Herman and Avery Friedman, to weigh in.


Filed under: Fredricka Whitfield
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. Dr. Jochen Kissel

    The mass of air is rougly 1.5 kg/cubic meter. The ballon seems to me no more than 5 cubic meters. How could such a small ballon carry a, I guess, 20 kg boy, for which a >15 cubicmeter beloon would be necessary.

    Did the pictures have a scale manipulation? Did the officials not have advice by baloon experts?

    October 18, 2009 at 10:42 pm |
  2. Robert Lake,MI

    I believe that if their biggest motivation was to make money off this deal than yes they should be thrown in jail and their kids taken away from them! Too many people in this country care more about money than doing the right thing! Set an example of these people to show the rest of the country that if you plan to exploit your children all in the name and making money then you will lose! Besides I believe in most of America the use of a child to gain wealth is illegal anyway isnt it?

    October 19, 2009 at 7:47 am |
  3. bates

    Thank You reality shows. Jon and Kate, Rehabs, this is what you get, of course its wrong but the issue of reality shows is the underlying problem. I think anytime you involve kids in reality shows there should be child abuse as it paints an unreal prospective of the real world for kids growing up. would you watch Jon and Kate without 8?

    October 19, 2009 at 8:16 am |
  4. Wendy Stevens

    We were stuck in Minneapolis airport for about 4 hours because of the back log of flights that were delayed while the Colorado authorities looked for the boy. I can only imagine how many people were delayed, inconvenienced, and disrupted so these people could have some fun. I don't imagine they have enough money to pay everyone back. But perhaps they need to lose the children who seem to be so important to them.

    October 19, 2009 at 10:50 am |
  5. christa

    Anything for a moment of so called Fame. We americans are so gullable and some of us do any and every thing for am moment of fame. I am so sick of those people, people who start singing at the drop of the head in any kind of shows, people who tell us about their so called talents. This also involves their children have to lie for them and do things a child should not have to do for its parents. Every cheerleader thinks they have to dance for a major league team, every one who is in a highschool play thinks, they have an Oscar performance in them. Everybody wants fame, no matter what and how they achive it. Every highschool football player thinks he is worth a place in a major team. Wake up, these are only a few very talented people, who can achieve their goal. Now we have parents who tell their children to lie and are suprised, when the children tell the truth. Think about it parent you make your children lie and cheat just for 15 seconds of fame. Parents like this do not love their children, these kind of parents are almost like the kids are their slaves to do any and all for them, the parents. People get a job and work, do what is right for your children, because what you do is child abuse.

    October 19, 2009 at 11:30 am |
  6. William stamile

    Had a gutt feeling it was a lie. Put a tattoo
    on their forehead, Shame on me , plus a big
    community service

    October 19, 2009 at 11:36 am |
  7. Koaster

    The real story here is the irresponsible new services. It is time that CNN, MSNBC and the other services that carried this story to take responsibility. It is unfortunate that these parents put on a hoax, yet it was the news services and talk shows that presented the parents and ill children. Where is the actual responsibilty here, where is the thoughtful and intelligent review. Where are the anchors admitting that they were duped. Credibility starts with the news services. That is to acknowledge their participation in this fiasco.

    October 19, 2009 at 2:37 pm |
  8. A. Smith

    WOAW! The title states this family has been found guilty of a ever changing range of felonies and crimes!

    That is FALSE! This family has not even been charged! This family has not been convicted of any of Sheriff Jim's false charges.

    Sheriff Jim is simply grandstanding and attempting to gain political favoritism. WHY is the News Media feeding Sheriff Jim's outrageous comments, wishes and statements like that are facts?

    The young child, Falcon appears to have been mentally abused by Sheriff Jim and his posse of deputy's during and after the time they grabbed the child away from his parents for a private interrogation.

    Is the News Media going to skewer Sheriff Jim if this family is found not guilty, after all of the dirt, false charges, slander and demeaning statements made by Sheriff Jim were echoed by the News Media?

    Of course not, ego tripping Sheriff's very often bend, change and even break the laws they have sworn to protect in order to advance a criminal charge and possible conviction.

    The true villain in this sad episode is Sheriff Jim, I sincerely hope Falcon's family attorney lets the public know precisely what threats and pressure Sheriff Jim made against this young child in his twisted attempt to obtain criminal charges and place himself on the 15 minute News Media sound-stage.

    A. Smith
    Oregon

    October 20, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  9. jean rothschild

    I find show interesting although because of your heritage I'm sure your understanding of what the average Hispanic illegal provokes is not the same as mine -the word illegal says it all – I do not belive in illegal activies or residents – I try to follow the rules and expect others to the same – It is not fair for me and other legal residents to pay for their medical costs by having my premiums and hospital visits and stays care for their medical care. Please explain why they feel they deserve the priveledges when they come to America in the way they do ? I have no problem with legals receiving the same as I do – But they need to go through the proper channels or stay out – Sorry to vent but my preceptions are not the same as yours – or maybe they are – What are yours?

    October 22, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  10. Kate

    Isn't it ironic that the media is doing *exactly* what those nitwits with the balloon wanted? Do you feel used? Why must we keep hearing about this non-news story?

    No one outside of the Heeny household, DFCS and the sherriff's office care about this absurd event.

    You are *driving* people to talk about it by *covering* it. Stop it. Just stop. No one really cares. It's not fascinating. It's stupid. CNN demeans itself by covering it.

    October 24, 2009 at 12:34 pm |